RSS Triage

Like many who are interested enough in the tech industry to attempt to stay up to date on current happenings, I’ve been struggling with an ever increasing number of interesting sites and feeds. In the past I would categorize the feeds into folders with names like “Blogs”, “News”, “Design”, and “Friends”, but eventually I’d wind up with a folder with a name like “MetaBlogs” or some such ridiculousness. While the multiple folders did help to organize the feeds, they did not help with what I needed; keeping up with what was important.

So, a few weeks ago I gave up on organizing the feeds by type of feed, and instead dropped down to three folders of what the feeds meant to me. My New organization is Can’t Miss, Skippable, and Staging. Three folders, no exceptions.

Can’t Miss

I read everything that comes into this folder, without exception. As such, I’m extremely conservative with the feeds that I allow in this folder. For each site I decide that I do not want to miss a single post, I’m making an agreement with myself, and deciding that my time is well spent reading what they have to say. I have several sources in this folder, but most of them are low-volume personal blogs. There are no high-volume sites in this folder.

Skippable

I like your site, I’ve found what you have to say interesting at some point, or I’ve found some value in your site, but I don’t need to read everything you write. Skippable is where you belong. These are the sites that post twelve times a day, the news sites, hacks, and inspiration. I like you, but it’s not love just yet. Skippable is giving myself permission to select everything, mark it read, and not feel the least bit bad about it.

Staging

This folder is also about giving myself permission, but this time it’s the permission to subscribe to anything I choose. Every interesting blog, news site, or any other feed source first winds up here. Like the Skippable folder, I still don’t mind marking everything as read and skipping whats in here, but from time to time I’ll puruse this folder and see if anything has caught my eye enough in the past few weeks to warrant moving the feed into one of the other folders. Sometimes I read one good post on a site and that’s it, everything else is something I can do without. Eventually that feed will be deleted. If I’ve enjoyed several posts, I might move you up to Skippable. And if I’ve found myself searching for your feed, then it might be time to move it up to Can’t Miss.

I think RSS is still very much alive and kicking, and I’m finally feeling like I’ve got a sustainable system for keeping up with the news I care about. Finally, it’s a great idea to break out of your RSS reader and visit the sites you care about.